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Title:Automated trajectory planning for multiple-flyby interplanetary missions
Author(s):Englander, Jacob
Director of Research:Conway, Bruce A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Conway, Bruce A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Prussing, John E.; Coverstone, Victoria L.; Hirani, Anil N.
Department / Program:Aerospace Engineering
Discipline:Aerospace Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
orbital mechanics
ceestial mechanics
hybrid optimal control
mission planning
Abstract:Many space mission planning problems may be formulated as hybrid optimal control problems (HOCP), i.e. problems that include both real-valued variables and categorical variables. In interplanetary trajectory design problems the categorical variables will typically specify the sequence of planets at which to perform flybys, and the real-valued variables will represent the launch date, flight times between planets, magnitudes and directions of thrust, flyby altitudes, etc. The contribution of this work is a framework for the autonomous optimization of multiple-flyby interplanetary trajectories. The trajectory design problem is converted into a HOCP with two nested loops: an ``outer-loop'' that finds the sequence of flybys and an ``inner-loop'' that optimizes the trajectory for each candidate flyby sequence. The problem of choosing a sequence of flybys is posed as an integer programming problem and solved using a genetic algorithm (GA). This is an especially difficult problem to solve because GAs normally operate on a fixed-length set of decision variables. Since in interplanetary trajectory design the number of flyby maneuvers is not known a priori, it was necessary to devise a method of parameterizing the problem such that the GA can evolve a variable-length sequence of flybys. A novel ``null gene'' transcription was developed to meet this need. Then, for each candidate sequence of flybys, a trajectory must be found that visits each of the flyby targets and arrives at the final destination while optimizing some cost metric, such as minimizing Δv or maximizing the final mass of the spacecraft. Three different classes of trajectory are described in this work, each of which required a different physical model and optimization method. The choice of a trajectory model and optimization method is especially challenging because of the nature of the hybrid optimal control problem. Because the trajectory optimization problem is generated in real time by the outer-loop, the inner-loop optimization algorithm cannot require any a priori information and must always return a solution. In addition, the upper and lower bounds on each decision variable cannot be chosen a priori by the user because the user has no way to know what problem will be solved. Instead a method of choosing upper and lower bounds via a set of simple rules was developed and used for all three types of trajectory optimization problem. Many optimization algorithms were tested and discarded until suitable algorithms were found for each type of trajectory. The first class of trajectories use chemical propulsion and may only apply a Δv at the periapse of each flyby. These Multiple Gravity Assist (MGA) trajectories are optimized using a cooperative algorithm of Differential Evolution (DE) and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO). The second class of trajectories, known as Multiple Gravity Assist with one Deep Space Maneuver (MGA-DSM), also use chemical propulsion but instead of maneuvering at the periapse of each flyby as in the MGA case a maneuver is applied at a free point along each planet-to-planet arc, i.e. there is one maneuver for each pair of flybys. MGA-DSM trajectories are parameterized by more variables than MGA trajectories, and so the cooperative algorithm of DE and PSO that was used to optimize MGA trajectories was found to be less effective when applied to MGA-DSM. Instead, either PSO or DE alone were found to be more effective. The third class of trajectories addressed in this work are those using continuous-thrust propulsion. Continuous-thrust trajectory optimization problems are more challenging than impulsive-thrust problems because the control variables are a continuous time series rather than a small set of parameters and because the spacecraft does not follow a conic section trajectory, leading to a large number of nonlinear constraints that must be satisfied to ensure that the spacecraft obeys the equations of motion. Many models and optimization algorithms were applied including direct transcription with nonlinear programming (DTNLP), the inverse-polynomial shape-based method, and feasible region analysis. However the only physical model and optimization method that proved reliable enough were the Sims-Flanagan transcription coupled with a nonlinear programming solver and the monotonic basin hopping (MBH) global search heuristic. The methods developed here are demonstrated to optimize a set of example trajectories, including a recreation of the Cassini mission, a Galileo-like mission, and conceptual continuous-thrust missions to Jupiter, Mercury, and Uranus.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Jacob Englander. All rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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